What are speculative buildings?
By Richard K. Blackwell
Speculative buildings are built in anticipation of the growth of a community. Based on the outlined plan for a city, county or region, a speculative building is an economic development tool to entice a potential plant expansion or usher in a new manufacturing or distribution operation.
The idea behind it all is to “plan ahead” for future growth and entice new residents to check out the area; after all, we’ve already made room for them. Selling the spec building so a business can begin investing in the community is the end goal of the process.
Oconee County has had two speculative buildings built and sold in the last ten years. Lift Technologies, Inc. bought the first in 2007. The 40,000 square foot spec building was on the market for 23 months, and at the time of purchase the company announced a $5 million investment and 50 new jobs for Oconee County residents. Ultimately, the company doubled the size of the facility to 80,000 square feet to accommodate their continued growth.
RBC Aerostructures (formerly A.I.D. Company) bought the second in late 2012. The 50,000 square foot space was on the market for less than 12 months. Upon purchasing, the company announced a $7 million investment and 75 new jobs for Oconee County. The company added 15,000 square feet to the original structure and bought the adjacent 19 acres to the building, thus completing the Oconee County Commerce Park.
Both of the above buildings ended up being win-wins for the parties involved. The County recouped its investment while simultaneously creating new jobs for the county. The companies that purchased the spaces became two new tax revenue streams, with one encouraging existing industry growth and the second welcoming a new corporate entity into the community.
The next spec building will be built within the Golden Corner Commerce Park off SC Hwy 59, which is just two miles off the interstate. This 50,000 square foot building will also have an additional expansion area for another 50,000 square feet. The plan is to have this building ready for a new occupant by year end with construction of the new entrance road to be complete in June. With low industrial building inventory in the county currently, this building type is in high demand.
Oconee County has had over $480 million in new capital investment and over 1500 new jobs created since 2012, this spec building will continue to showcase Oconee County as the “geography of opportunity” and bring forth another chapter in our economic development story.
Richard K. Blackwell is the executive director of Oconee Economic Alliance, which is a public-private nonprofit effort to accelerate job creation and capital investment, increase per capita income, diversify the local tax base and generate awareness of Oconee County as a business location. To learn more visit www.InvestOconeeSC.com.